In the Union Territory of Mizoram the most popular dance is Cheraw. It is danced mainly by the girls of Mizo tribe. Although it is now performed at any rime, originally it was a ritual dance. It is inspired by a Mizo myth, according to which Pu Pawla is the custodian of paradise. When a child dies, the spirit proceed towards Pialral, the heavenly abode of the dead. The Cheraw dance is performed to propitiate the death of the child. The Mizos believe that if the dance is performed the spirit of the dead child will easily enter into the paradise without being harassed by Pu Pawla.
The Panvi and Lakher tribal communities, living in Chhimtuipui district of Mizoram perform Solakia dance. Both boys and girls participate in the dance and are guided by the leader who plays a gong to the beats of the rhythm. The stepping pattern is simple but very elegant. With the swaying movement of the body, the dancers swing their right legs towards the left delicately bending it at the knee. They take back the right leg and come forward in three rhythmic steps. Then they gracefully bend the knee and go back with three backward steps. The dancers wear their traditional ceremonial costume including a colorful headgear. Each leading dancer holds a spear and a shield followed by a dancer who brandishes a sword and slings a gun from the shoulder like a tribal hero. Accompanying percussion music is provided by long cylindrical drums, a set of gongs and cymbals.
The Solakia dance is prevalent in Mizoram. ‘So’ literally means unnatural death, but in the context of this dance it means the severed head of an enemy. ‘La’ means dance and ‘Kia’ refers to that which has been done with better understanding and knowledge. Originally, Solakia was danced to celebrate the victory over enemies, especially when the head of an enemy is brought home as a trophy by the victor. Now, it is performed on all important occasions. Although at present it is performed by men and women of all Mizo communities, it is believed to have originated by the Piwi and Lakher communities. The vocal music that accompanies the dance is closer to chanting than singing. Percussion music is provided by a pair of gongs, one bigger than the other, are called Darkhuang. Several pairs of cymbals are also played to enhance the music.
The Chawnglaizawn is a ceremonial dance of unique kind. It may be called a funeral dance, since it is performed when the village chief or a very well-to-do person of the village dies. This custom is prevalent among the people of the Pawi tribal community. Chawnglaizawn literally means dance and jump for glory. The Pawis regard two days most important in a man’s life : the day he is born and the day he dies. It is a kind of homage the villagers pay to the dead chief who is glorified in the dance. The members of the chiefs family give pigs and fowls to the villagers as gifts, which are treated for a sumptuous feast. Earlier the dance was being performed by only one dancer. He used to carry a gun and while dancing and singing used fire shots upward occasionally. In course of time the dance changed considerably and now it is performed usually by 16 men and 16 women dancers. About five musicians provide the accompanying percussion music playing different sizes of gongs and drums.